Programs Designed to Help You Afford Medicare if You Have a Low Income

Part A offered by Medicare insurance is free for people who have worked 40 or more years. But in order to receive Part B and Part D coverage, you must pay a monthly premium. If you have a low income and cannot afford the premiums, there are systems put in place to help you afford insurance.


            Medicaid is a federal program, but the rules vary from state to state. Medicaid helps individuals who cannot afford nursing home care and doctor’s services. Under the spend down rules, if you are “medically needy,” you may be able to receive extra coverage for Part D of Medicare, even if your income is above the Medicaid qualifying level.

Medicare Savings Program

            There are several Medicare Savings Programs in each state that will help you pay for your premiums. Check with your state programs to see if you qualify for the programs such as the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program, or the Qualifying Individual Program, and the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, or the Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program.


            PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) provides Medicare and Medicaid in a facility to those who do not need to go to a nursing home. This program covers adult day care, dentistry, emergency services, home care, hospital care, x-rays, meals, specialty medical services, nutritional counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, prescription drugs, preventive care, social services, caregiver training, support groups, respite care, social work counseling, and transportation if necessary.

Extra Help

            Extra Help is a program specifically designed to offer additional payment for Part D coverage of Medicare. You can apply for Extra Help by submitting the following information to Medicare:

            -A purple notice from Medicare letting you know you qualify for Extra Help

            -A yellow or green automatic enrollment form from Medicare

            -An extra help Notice of Award from the office of Social Security Administration

            -An orange notice from Medicare informing you of your copay or your SSI award letter

            -You can also provide evidence that you have Medicaid by showing your Medicaid card or submitting a document stating you have Medicaid

Supplement Security Income

            The SSI program pays disabled people who have limited ways for receiving a standard income. SSI benefits are also offered to those who are not disabled and 65 or older. However, these individuals must meet the financial limits.

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